Nebula Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi has made a name for himself writing stories set in a bleak near-future following an environmental collapse. A more timely novel could not exist than his latest, Ship Breaker, his first Young Adult offering and possibly his strongest work to date. Narrator Joshua Swanson brings precisely the young, street-wise performance needed to carry this story.
Nailer Lopez is fighting to survive in a devastated world, doing the only work a boy on the verge of manhood can do "light crew" duty as a ship breaker, salvaging copper wire from the rusting hulks of tankers left wrecked on America's Gulf Coast. Every day is a struggle to make quota and find the best salvage to stay in the good graces of his crew. There is always the hope of the big score: a pocket of petroleum, precious fuel in an age of exhausted wells, drowned cities, and risen seas, where any energy source is precious.
When Nailer and his best friend Pima come across the find of a lifetime, a salvage that could buy him freedom not just from the brutality of light crew but from his abusive father as well, there's only one problem it comes with a swank, a rich girl named Nita. Nita has value just like everything else, and Nailer is faced with a choice: keep her ship and buy his independence, or he can go the far more dangerous but possibly more profitable route and help her. Nailer, Pima, and the identity of newly nick-named "Lucky Girl" are always on the edge of discovery by Nailer's drug-addicted father, his crew, and the genetically augmented "half-man", Tool.
Joshua Swanson was well cast. His style is wholly appropriate to a dystopia, and he is completely convincing as he takes us through Nailer's dilemmas and perils. This is a fast-paced story of adventure and suspense, and Swanson's narration while careful and precise carries the tension well. He skillfully handles the voicing of the story's main female characters, Pima and Nita, without slipping into the narrative pitfalls of falsettos or needless breathiness. Bacigalupi's cast is vast and varied, but Swanson manages to keep the listener oriented through adept pitch and passable island dialects here and there.
This is a performance that draws the listener into the dark recesses of a rusted and starving world. Though marketed as Young Adult, there is plenty here for any lover of near-future dystopian literature to enjoy. Christie Yant
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota - and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life.
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
©2010 Paolo Bacigalupi (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Narrator Joshua Swanson makes this harsh dystopian world all too believable. He adjusts the pacing to fit the intensity of the action and gives each character a voice that fits his or her personality. This is superb listening for teens—and adults too—even those who aren’t big fans of science fiction." (AudioFile)
The storyline. It has continuous entertainment and excitement
Nailor the Ship Breaker
Nothing. I'd prefer a different narrator
The story picks you up and carries you along, I found myself cheering and cringing at the fight scenes. The plot has the perfect blend detail and timing, the narration is excellent, the reader is fully immersed in his characters.
How did we ever get through the day without audiobooks?
I was pleasantly surprised at the easy flow of this story. I haven't found PB's books to be easy to follow in audio before, having to rewind and re-listen to parts before actually grasp them. But this was one of the books in my wish list, and it was on sale, so I took a gamble.
And, I enjoyed it!
Fast moving plot and action, it felt as though the story was rushing head-long into the jungle (of Louisiana, maybe?) and then.....run smack into a barrier. The story stopped. Literally. So....I'm feeling a little bit unfinished, without closure.
Still, it was enjoyable and I will probably download the 2nd in this series, even though I see that it isn't quite a continuing story.
I enjoyed Paolo Bacigalupi's Windup Girl so I purchased this book. I was not disappointed.
So good I listened for hours at a time and quickly started the next book. The Drowned Cities.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
This was an enjoyable, easy-to-listen-to, interesting YA novel with a fine narrator. If you like YA novels, go for it!
Absolutely. Joshua Swanson gives the characters different voice accents that really bring the story to life.
This book has an extremely creative plot. The scenes are very detailed and the reader really feels like they are a participant in the story. The writing manages to stimulate all five senses, so that the reader feels like they are actually in the physical places that the author describes. Also, the author created a style of speech for his characters that is extremely unique and adds a lot of value and realism to the story.
The scenes inside the ship and on the beach.
No. I wanted to savor the story as long as possible!
Like a lot of fantasy, the story was incredibly repetitive, making the same point over and over and not moving the story forward, either through action or character development.
Anyone who didn't sound like they were an artificial voice. I get trying to make an odd futuristic idiom, but I couldn't stand to listen to this. I have never not finished an audio book; I didn't make it to the second download on this one.
I am a nurse and also work for USDA-Nass part time. I raise toy & Miniature Australian Shepherds. Listen to audio books while I am driving.
This was a well written book. Had a hard time getting into it. Characters were good and well developed. Lots of emotion. Narrator did a good job. I was disappointed in the ending.
I like the unusal and fantasy but this just wasn't a book I really liked.
"A Good Read"
I like taking a gamble with unfamiliar authors and genres. This was a success. I liked the character development, the way the story flowed, the description of how the setting of the book came about and how the characters existed in their society. You could believe that such a scenario could come to take place. I enjoyed every word and have purchased two further books by Bacigalupi; and have not been disappointed by the one I have finished reading. Although this second book is set in the same future world, the style of writing is not repetitious - I sometimes find some authors write too close to a particular format but here the style of the author is not compromised. I enjoyed the book and I hope you do too.
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